Graeme McDowell is three behind clubhouse leader Rafa Cabrera Bello at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida after hitting a four-under-par 68 in Thursrday’s first round.
The Portrush player recovered from two early bogeys to get to the turn in one under.
He then picked up a further shot at the 10th, before moving to four under after an eagle on the par-five 16th.
Rory McIlroy needed two late birdies to card a level-par 72.
McIlroy said: “A 72 was probably a fair reflection of my game. I’ll go out in the morning and try and shoot a good one and I’ll be right there for the weekend.”